How was Training?

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“Realazation of the big difference between EA and EITA” - Enterprise Architect, Hasbro, USA, Dec 2012

Recommend PEAF?

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“Yes - it provides a framework in which to work” - Sr. Enterprise Architect, Dun & Bradstreet, USA, Jan 2015













Because the field of Enterprise Architecture is very immature (we cannot call it a profession) and there is no way to know who is and is not a “real” Enterprise Architect, almost anyone can call themselves an Enterprise Architect and begin telling others about it. Negativity around EA is widespread but it is not a surprise. Most people and Enterprises have just enough knowledge to be dangerous!

A lot of people have heard of EA. Unfortunately, most of them have only heard parts of the story and from sources of varying quality and completeness. Also those parts of the story may have been heard or told at different points in time. Myths, inaccuracies and untruths abound. With this in mind it’s hardly surprising that a lot of people’s understanding of EA is inaccurate, incomplete, erroneous and inconsistent.

Over the years this has caused a massive amount of disinformation to build up and percolate around the business and IT communities which has lead people to have very negative views about what EA is and what it means for their Enterprise.

There are many misconceptions associated with bringing Enterprise Architecture to an Enterprise. But more than misconception, they are real risks.

Each risk defined, documents the impact and general mitigation strategies to deal with them and they are all fundamentally perception problems.

 

We don’t have an EA

Description

EA is perceived as not existing in an Enterprise and therefore “we don’t need it”

Impact

FAILURE

EA is not viewed as a serious issue that management need to address and hence nothing is done to mature it.

Reality

Every Enterprise already has an EA. The word Architecture just means structure and so an Enterprise Architecture is really just the structure of the Enterprise. Every Enterprise definitely has structure and therefore definitely has an Enterprise Architecture. It may be good or bad. It may be documented or not. It may be understood or not. It may be what is required or not. An Enterprise may not have an Enterprise Architecture model (something documented in some way) but every Enterprise definitely already has an Enterprise Architecture.

Every Enterprise already “does” EA. “Doing EA” is a bit of a misnomer. “Doing EA” is actually the work that happens in the Strategising and Roadmapping phases of the Transformation cascade (as defined by POET) including high level project Governance. This work is already happening in every Enterprise. It may be good or bad. It may be documented or not. It may be understood or not. It may be what is required or not but every Enterprise is definitely already “doing” Enterprise Architecture.

Every Enterprise already employs EAs. The people who currently work in the Strategising and Roadmapping phases and perform high level project Governance are EA’s. They may not have that title, they may not know what EA is, but they are most definitely EAs.

“Having” EA or “doing” EA is therefore not a question of existence or not, it’s more a question of maturity - the effectiveness and efficiency by which those things exist and are done. It’s a question of Maturity.

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

We don’t do EA

Description

EA is perceived as not existing in an Enterprise and therefore “we don’t need it”

Impact

FAILURE

EA is not viewed as a serious issue that management need to address and hence nothing is done to mature it.

Reality

Yes you do - Strategy formulation and high level Transformation Planning is “doing” Enterprise Architecture

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

We don’t have any EAs

Description

EA is perceived as not existing in an Enterprise and therefore “we don’t need it”

Impact

FAILURE

EA is not viewed as a serious issue that management need to address and hence nothing is done to mature it.

Reality

Yes you do - The Senior Management Team and Transformation planners are the Architects of the Enterprise The question is, are the Methods, Artefacts, Culture and Environment they use, mature enough.

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

Ivory tower and hypothetical

Description

Many people may think that EA is all a bit hypothetical and ivory tower. This is not surprising as there is no shortage of people who will wax lyrical for hours on end about EA. In fact an entire industry has built up that does just this. Seminars are frequent but never seem to offer much Pragmatic advice or things people can actually use. Consultancies will come and talk to you (for a large fee) about EA but getting them to actually deliver something of value, that’s a different story. With all this posturing, style over substance and sound bites, it’s hardly surprising that people can think EA is hypothetical and ivory tower.

Impact

FAILURE

Senior management does not engage, meaning EA tries to move forward by driving from the bottom up and is viewed as something to be placated to “just get them off my back so I can do something more useful instead”.

The business and IT remain unconnected. Initiatives continue to operate in silos with short term goals.

Reality

It is precisely because we don’t live in a perfect world that we need EA.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

Many failures

Description

Many people think EA is of little practical value because they have heard (and continue to hear) stories about how people have failed at “doing” EA.

Impact

FAILURE

EA is not viewed as a serious issue that management need to address and hence nothing is done to mature it.

Reality

It is true that many attempts at EA fail. This is largely due to EA not being well defined in the first place and then because many people do the wrong things to the wrong things at the wrong time. Bad implementation is the cause for most failures. The baby should not be thrown out with the bathwater.

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

Benefits are never achieved

Description

The benefits that EA is supposed to deliver are generally well known and yet most implementations tend not to deliver them.

Impact

FAILURE

EA is not viewed as a serious issue that management need to address and hence nothing is done to mature it.

Reality

Apart from bad implementation another reason is that either no metrics are used or bad metrics are used. How can you know if something is successful if you do not measure it or measure it in the wrong way?

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

Invented by consultants

Description

The Head of Strategy and Architecture of a large UK Government department I worked for once said “EA - it’s just something invented by consultants to get them paid more money”. To be honest that view is hardly surprising considering all we have mentioned so far.

Impact

FAILURE

EA is not viewed as a serious issue that management need to address and hence nothing is done to mature it.

Reality

In reality it is largely true that many consultancies view EA as means to more work, however EA existed long before consultants realised they could make a lot of money by exploiting it. Correlation does not mean causality. The key problem there though is a lack of understanding about what EA is actually about and how to actually do it rather than the important people in expensive suits waxing lyrical whilst charging you an arm and a leg. When the Head of Strategy and Architecture thinks that EA is useless we have really big problems. This is why education and exposing Pragmatic information about EA and how to do it in a Pragmatic way is so important.

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

A large expensive team?

Description

Do I need to employ a large team of highly paid Enterprise Architects and have a whole new set of processes, job titles and departments?

Impact

FAILURE

Funding is not provided.

Reality

No. EA is a cultural shift.

Adopting EA is to increase an Enterprise’s maturity in its use of The Architecture Paradigm™ to support Strategy Development (Strategising), Transformation Planning (Roadmapping) and Project Governance.

EA is therefore an adjustment to the way people do work they are currently doing, not bolting on a whole new chunk.

There are some people/groups that would love you to “employ a large team of highly paid Enterprise Architects”.

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

A large expensive project?

Description

If I do utilise EA in my business, do I need to have a big EA project spanning years and costing millions of dollars?

Impact

FAILURE

Funding is not provided.

Reality

No. It’s about maturity.

Adopting EA is to increase an Enterprise’s maturity in its use of The Architecture Paradigm™ at the scope of the Enterprise to support Strategy Development and Transformation Planning.

One step at a time.

An EA project is one step and can be a large or as small as you like and is driven by understanding how mature you are, how mature you want to be, what the benefits are of moving to that level of maturity and then making the necessary adjustments.

EA is a journey not a destination.

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

Losing Strategic Control

Description

If I do utilise EA in my business, will Enterprise Architects be making strategic decisions?

Impact

FAILURE

.

Reality

No. The business will.

EA provides the context and visibility for the business to make even better business decisions.

Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Architects are much more about exposing pertinent information for decisions to be made. Of course, if the Enterprise wishes to delegate some decision making powers to an Enterprise Architect to carry out on their behalf that’s perfectly fine, but those decisions are made on behalf of the Business Management.

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

It’s another silver bullet

Description

EA is perceived as a perfect fix for all of an Enterprise’s problems, with little or no work or cost.

Impact

FAILURE

Other associated and related activities are overlooked and stagnate while the Nirvana that EA is supposed to provide, but will not, is created.

Reality

EA is one tool in toolbox that an Enterprise uses to run efficiently. It is linked to and cooperates with other processes in the Enterprise.

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

Nothing to do with me, mate!

Description

EA is perceived as an IT or technology level thing.

Impact

FAILURE

The Business does not engage with IT. The board does not see EA as something that it should discuss. It’s for the IT Director to do if he wants.

IT builds models and diagrams for its own purposes but does not connect them to the business level adequately thereby propagating the myth.

EA is placed under the control of the IT Director or CIO. It loses visibility at the board level and descends into being seen as a cost rather than an asset.

Reality

EA is a tool to expose the relationships between the Business and IT. It is ultimately a business tool to enable the board and senior management to see and therefore understand the components of the Enterprise and the relationships between them.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

How much!!!

Description

EA is perceived as large, costly and slow.

EA is perceived as a huge Initiative to immediately move the Enterprise from Current to Target with associated huge costs and timescales.

Impact

FAILURE

Similar to large EAI Initiatives in the past large sums of money are spent and time invested until the bubble bursts and someone asks “what are we getting for all this money we are spending”.

Reality

The initial setup of EA should take no longer than 6 months so long as it is driven in the right way.

The planning part of EA (as an integral part of the annual business planning cycle) should take no longer than 3 months.

The initiatives that come out of the business planning exercise do not try to solve all problems in the first year. There is always a mixture of strategic, tactical, and temporary work in any initiative.

Likelihood / Impact

M / M

Mitigation

Communication

Are we there yet?

Description

EA is perceived as a destination rather than a journey, and/or as a deliverable rather than a process with deliverables.

Impact

FAILURE

Once the principles and models are done they slowly get more and more out of date leading to distrust of them and finally resulting in Shelfware and just another set of diagrams and lists we never use.

Reality

The setup phase of EA is a destination but that is only to provide the environment to be able to perform the repetitive processes of governance and business planning.

Likelihood / Impact

M / H

Mitigation

Communication

I have important firefighting to do...

Description

EA is perceived as a roadblock to more important and immediate problems such as “getting the car out of the river”.

EA is perceived as purely long term & strategic and not capable of adding value in a tactical world.

Impact

FAILURE

EA never gets a look in with senior management as they are solely concentrating today’s, this week’s, or this month’s crisis.

Reality

EA never says yes or no. It provides the environment for senior management to see and understand the implications and effects of their decisions BEFORE they make them.

EA does not preclude short term, tactical or even “throwaway” work. Having EA means that however much tactical or “throwaway” work needs to be done, it is done in the context of a wider and more strategic context.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

Oh what pretty pictures

Description

EA is perceived as creating static “pretty” pictures that hang on people’s walls but not used by anyone.

Impact

FAILURE

“Pictures” or models, have some value to certain people but they are mostly viewed as things to point at when saying “we have an architecture” rather than living things which aid understanding and decision making.

Reality

Models are powerful things that convey understanding and therefore then provide the basis for understanding the impacts of change). Whilst sometimes it is more beneficial to deal with lists and spreadsheets there are times where pictures show problems and inconsistencies much more clearly.

EA allows access to dynamic Models.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

EA models should be online and navigable.

EA models should consist of different and appropriate views and viewpoints targeted at specific audiences.

EA Models should be actively used in business planning and projects to assess impact & risk and perform what-if analyses.

I can’t afford a modelling tool!

Description

EA modelling tools are perceived as expensive and “nice to have” but not mandatory.

Impact

FAILURE

Pictures and discrete spreadsheets are mostly produced in silos with little reuse value, with a huge information gaps and with the most important relationships missing. These pictures are, or soon become, out of date as the pictures and spreadsheets are not maintained,

Reality

Compared to the cost of paying people to manually maintain the linkages between pictures and spreadsheets, the cost of a tool is very small.

Some things are not possible without a tool, e.g. managing relationships, building different views, Version control, security. federation of maintenance rights., etc.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

Evaluate and source a tool

Expend the necessary time to understand, configure and use the tool

I don’t want another maintenance nightmare

Description

EA models are perceived as being owned and updated by IT.

Impact

FAILURE

IT does not have the bandwidth to maintain all of the information and therefore parts of the model become out of date, unconnected and subsequently unused.

Reality

Maintenance of the information within an EA model repository is performed by those most suitable and able to maintain it. E.g. IT people maintain application, Database and hardware information, Business people maintain objectives, products and business activities information.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

EA Models are owned by the stakeholders/users of the views.

The different entities and relationships are owned and maintained as part of existing business and IT processes by the people most appropriate for that entity/relationship

How many paperclips?

Description

EA is perceived as producing Models with huge amounts of detail and will descend into analysis paralysis.

Impact

FAILURE

The high level strategic view is lost.

A huge amount of work is done for little benefit to the stakeholders

Reality

EA is all primarily about breadth rather than depth (although deep dives may be necessary occasionally).

EA is interested in the entire breadth of an Enterprise but only as much depth as required for the strategic planning and governance of initiatives.

Likelihood / Impact

M / M

Mitigation

Communication

Stay at the right level of granularity

You can’t define the future

Description

EA is perceived as not being able to define a Future state because no one knows what that is and it’s always changing anyway.

Impact

FAILURE

The long term direction is not known and therefore work operates in a “today” silo timeframe resulting in people not even knowing if the decisions they are taking are good or bad in the long term.

Reality

All Enterprises have some idea of a future state, The fact that their view may not be complete and is probably prone to change does not detract away from this long term general vision, and it is this vision that guides the ship.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication

Make sure the “Target” Model is defined at the correct level of granularity and well understood by the Business and IT

Don’t tell the business what to do

Description

The perception is that IT is dictating to the Business.

Impact

FAILURE

IT tells the Business how wrong it is, how stupid it has been in the past and how IT knows what to do to solve all their problems.

The business stops listening to IT.

Reality

EA is all about the Business and IT working in a true partnership, where each understands the other enough to be able to co-operatively work together to achieve shared goals.

Likelihood / Impact

M / M

Mitigation

Communication.

Don’t tell IT what to do

Description

The perception is that the Business is dictating to IT.

Impact

FAILURE

The business dictates how, when and with what IT will do its job. Requirements are thrown over the wall like incendiaries.

IT stops listening to the Business.

Reality

EA is all about the Business and IT working in a true partnership, where each understands the other enough to be able to co-operatively work together to achieve shared goals.

Likelihood / Impact

M / M

Mitigation

Communication.

Let’s model everything

Description

Feverish modelling of various things without a plan for how to gather the data, how to QA it, and who will benefit from it once it is gathered.

Impact

FAILURE

A large amount of work is done gathering data and producing diagrams for little or no benefit.

Models are not connected to the sources of the information and so people continue to use the diagrams and spreadsheets they always have used or they start creating new one duplicating effort.

Reality

EA is all about being of value to the Enterprise. Models should not be created without a firm idea of who will use the information, in what way, and for what benefit.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication.

Clearly Define the Version 0.1 Meta-model

Clearly define the benefits to what stakeholders the model will bring

Shhh! Don’t mention the words EA

Description

EA is driven in a largely covert manner, It is only known of within IT and even then only to a very select few.

Impact

FAILURE

EA is only used for managing IT and usually largely from an infrastructure point of view. The business and IT remain largely unconnected.

Reality

EA is all about connecting things.

EA is a cultural shift and therefore needs to be communicated, understood and bought into by the entire Enterprise.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication.

My bonus is based on todays shareprice

Description

Executive incentives reward short term investments and reduced acquisition costs.

Impact

FAILURE

These incentives are in direct conflict with the stated vision, objectives and principles that EA aims to achieve.

Reality

EA is all about investment for future benefit.

Executives should be incentivized to produce long terms benefit.

Executives should be de-incentivized from producing short term benefits at the expense of long term strategic goals.

Likelihood / Impact

H / H

Mitigation

Communication.

Change the Executive incentive scheme. Reward strategic and long term thinking

 

 

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